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Finest Known 1931 Double Eagle, MS67 PCGS1931 $20 MS67 PCGS. The 1931 is one of the foremost rarities in the Saint-Gaudens double eagle series. The total population in Mint State is around 100 pieces, about one-half of which are in the MS64 grade level. The Superb Gem offered in the present lot is the only one of its kind seen by either PCGS or NGC. The surfaces display excellent mint frost, which is characteristic of this issue, and show a pretty light to medium yellow-gold color with subtle greenish undertones. The design elements are sharply struck, and include strong definition on the central devices, as well as on the Capitol building and most of the stars. The surfaces on both sides are immaculately preserved; a handful of trivial marks on the reverse are not worthy of individual mention. While copper stains are common on this issue, the present example reveals just one very light spot located between the eagle's breast and the O in GOD. The frequently seen fine vertical die break is noted through the eagle's beak, and some light grease spots in the area between the eagle's left leg and wing serve to identify the coin.
Some of the better-grade specimens that have appeared at auction in recent years are listed below. In June 1995, Stack's offered a Gem Brilliant Uncirculated piece described as having "lightly frosted yellow-gold surfaces" (lot 996). An NGC-graded MS65 example appeared in Superior's May 1996 sale (lot 1965). The cataloger indicated it was "fully struck and has exceptional color and luster." For identification purposes, a tiny rim tick below the U in UNITED is noted. In their September 1999 sale, Goldberg's sold an NGC-graded MS66 coin described as having orange-gold toning on both sides and as being sharply struck (lot 2028).
We expect the current 1931 specimen to generate spirited bidding. One can only speculate when this coin, the finest known, will come onto the market again. Population: 1 in 67, 0 finer (9/05).
From The Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage.(#9192)(Registry values: N1) (NGC ID# 26GN, PCGS# 9192)
View all of [The Morse Collection: Palm Beach, November 3, 2005 ]
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Revised Edition by James L. Halperin, Mark R. Borckardt, Mark Van Winkle, Jon Amato, and Gregory J. Rohan, with special contributor David W. Akers
The Coinage of Augustus Saint-Gaudens is an issue-by-issue examination of these two artistically inspired series of gold coins.
Each date and mintmark is reviewed with up-to-date information, much of which has never been previously published. The book is based on
two extraordinary collections: The Phillip H. Morse collection and the Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor collection.
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